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Supportive Health & Human Services

The commissioners’ Building Futures programs helps put struggling young adults on a path to the middle class.

County-Sponsored Specialized Work Training

The commissioners' agencies provide specialized workforce programs that give low-income workers weeks of job training and a weekly stipend. The vast majority of graduates have gone on to private industry jobs with wages and benefits that will allow them to join the middle class.

You can earn a stipend while receiving training:

 


Thus far, approximately 225 people have gone through the three types of training.

The pandemic reached Ohio on March 9, 2020, causing many Franklin County residents to begin isolating at home and others to lose their jobs– so that thousands were no longer earning a paycheck. Historic demand was met by the commissioners’ team with assistance, compassion, and tireless effort for families.

 

The commissioners have worked with both the city and county health departments to help keep all of our residents safe during the pandemic.

 

Pandemic Assistance 

One critical area of support was emergency grant assistance aimed at preventing thousands of families from being evicted. The commissioners provided $2.4 million in rental assistance through Prevention, Retention and Contingency grants. The grants, which averaged about $1,100, helped 2,200 families. In addition, Franklin County partnered with the City of Columbus to provide broad support for social services including $8 million in Small Business Response and Recovery Fund and then another $20 million in Resiliency Grants as demand continued to grow.

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Commissioner Marilyn Brown hosts social service leaders in early 2020 as the county was administering the 2020 Census.


The commissioners provided many additional forms of assistance including:

  • Make a Safer Community (MASC) Events – More than 18,000 mask kits were distributed through a partnership with the African American Male Wellness Agency, as well as help from the National Center for Urban Solutions.

  • Community Partnership Program – Franklin County’s nonprofit social service partners were awarded $6.3 million in grants through an annual program that promotes the creation of well-paying jobs, access to affordable healthcare, and stabilizing families.

  • Social Service Agencies – Nonprofits were offered protective equipment through a partnership with the Human Services Chamber of Franklin County. More than 250,000 masks (cloth, disposable, or KN95), 13,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, 200,000 bottles of soap, and more were given based on need.


Franklin County Job and Family Services Department added a Family Stabilization Unit to provide a comprehensive family approach to helping Black boys and their families.

Unit staff determine the unique needs of each family and work directly with that family and with partners like the courts and other government agencies to ensure that their wholistic needs are met. In addition, a new initiative, “Calling All Dads” was launched to enlist fathers’ help in promoting high-quality childcare and early learning. More than 230 fathers became ambassadors and then assisted with Job and Family Service’s Step Up to Quality efforts.

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Assistance for the Elderly

One segment of our population that faced the most risk during the pandemic is the elderly. To help protect them, Franklin County’s Office on Aging made changes to help seniors shelter at home, including expanding eligibility for home-delivered meals, providing personal protective equipment, and other assistance.

1,237,120
Miles of transportation

4,789
Hours of escorted transportation

922,055
Home-delivered meals

10,007
Seniors enrolled in our Home and
Community Based Programs

85,726
Hours of light housekeeping

$93,525
Hours of personal care and respite


Direct Assistance for Families

 

Food assistant or SNAP enrollees

Number of Recipients
163,338
 13.15%
 

Medicaid enrollees

Number of Recipients (including 169,495 children)
373,077
 15.31%​

Ohio Works First enrollees

Number of Recipients
11,409
 17.7%

Publicly-Funded Child Care enrollees

Number of Children
19,644​ 
as of Sept. 2020

Food Assistance aka SNAP

(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
 

81,740, or 50% Children
81,598, or 50% Adults
 

 

163,338 Total

The commissioners engaged leaders from throughout the community to help connect county services to those in need during the pandemic.

Child Support Enforcement Agency

 

Child support from non-custodial parents is critical to ensuring that Franklin County children have the resources they need to thrive.

That is because child support is one of the largest sources of income for many families who have child support orders. Research shows regular child support payments reduce child poverty, promote parental responsibility and involvement, and improve children’s educational outcomes.

Franklin County Child Support has been an innovator in government policy development using cutting-edge projects that have been shown to keep both parents more engaged and in ways that have improved the quality of services for the children. The agency has used this approach for continuous evaluation and improvement of processes, development of new policy, and direction for new initiatives.

Child Support Enforcement Agency staff attend local events to help educate families about their work. 

73,430
Open cases

84,445
Children Supported

106,765
Parents Involved

3,783
Caretakers Involved

$173,252,251.07
2020 Collections – up over $13.4 million compared to 2019

 96.73%
Paternity Establishment

 85.44%
Support Establishment

 66.88%
Current Collections

 75.08%
Collections on Past Due Support

COSI Partnership or Distance Learning Initiative

The Franklin County Commissioners and the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) teamed up to create free educational and entertaining activities rooted in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) atered to students in kindergarteners through high school who are sheltering at home. These activities and videos were posted on the COSI Connects webpage and hands-on kits were available in many places were free lunches were offered. The kits were widely used:
 

12,000
Learning Lunchboxes

16,828
Website users

Because of pandemic closures about 73 percent of all program participants were reached at community centers, libraries, parks and near their homes.

Step Up to Quality

Ohio’s new mandates for publicly-funded childcare could have meant massive childcare closures had it not been for the commissioners’ Job and Family Services Department’s efforts.

Since 2017, the agency devised and provided training, managed a massive outreach strategy for parents and providers, and provided hands-on assistance to hundreds of centers.

The efforts were a proven success when the mandates went into effect Sept. 1, 2020:

  • Only three programs in the entire county hadn’t been star-rated or qualified for any exemptions.
  • Job and Family Services successfully trained more than 147 providers in 2020 alone.
  • In all, 549 center and home-based childcare providers completed the training, which included more than 1,000 childcare workers.